Winter Pruning Apples and Pears

November – early March in UK.

Winter pruning of apples and pears is best done while the trees are dormant, usually between November and early March in the UK. Here are three useful articles from the RHS that explain what to do for different types of pruning:

Restricted forms like cordons and espaliers are managed by summer pruning.

Hosepipe Ban – Correction

It affects allotments, too.

Several people have pointed out that the itv article was incorrect (thanks!), and we are allowed to water our food crops with a hosepipe:

A hosepipe can be used for watering food crops but not for general flowers and plants. Where you can, we’d encourage you to use a watering can to save on the volume of water which is used through traditional hosepipes. It’s best to water in the morning or evening, as that means the water won’t evaporate quickly in the sunshine.

Yorkshire Water web site.

Watering dry, bare soil requires patience. It can take a long time for the water to soak in, as shown in this clever little video.

A layer of mulch helps prevent evaporation from the soil, and it also helps the soil soak up water more quickly. I’ve seen a great little video showing this, but I can’t find it just now…

Allium Leaf Miner

Many crops ruined by allium leaf miner.

There is a lot of damage to allium crops (leeks, onions, garlic, etc) this year from allium leaf miners. They have been active in Leeds since at least 2020, but this is the first time I have heard of so many growers pulling up their whole crops and disposing of them. More information here.

A New Weapon Against Slugs and Snails?

A safe and effective slug bait?

A researcher in America has found a highly effective, non-toxic and cheap slug bait. Is this what we have been looking for all these years? Why not try it and see? (But what is the best way of getting rid of the slugs once you catch them?)

Well, the first time I tried it the rats ate the bread dough before the slugs found it. I’ll try again with wire mesh to stop the rats.

Safeguard your allotment site

What if the land owners decide to sell off your self-managed allotment site? One action your allotment association could take now would be to “nominate” the land to become an “Asset of Community Value”. This means that the sale of the land would be delayed by six months to give community groups time to enter a bid to buy the land. Nominating the land costs nothing, and the form is available from the Council’s web page. There is more helpful information about the process on that web page, too.